Modify & Optimize Home Network

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by mikemalphurs, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. mikemalphurs macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2010
    I am struggling to get my house set-up properly for a strong wireless signal strength. I could use some advice.

    My current set-up includes:
    - A 2Wire gateway broadcasting wirelessly at 2.4GHz (b/g)
    - A Time Capsule connected to the gateway via Ethernet and broadcasting wirelessly at 5GHz (n).

    My signal strength is very poor in some portions of the house. Most noticeably where I need it the most... My media room (which has the Apple TV, PS3, etc.).

    From reading posts here, it appears I have the following options:
    1) Get an airport express and use it as a range extender.
    2) Get a power line home networking device and hook-up my devices via Ethernet.

    I would appreciate any suggestions on the proper way to go, and, if there are any other things I should try besides what I listed above.

    To help, I have attached two images: The first is the layout of my house and the second is my signal strength.

    Thanks again!

    Attached Files:

  2. jajohns8 macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2008
    Is it an option to run Cat5 in an attic or in a crawl space and then drop/push up to where you need to be?

    I have tried various wireless configurations in my home and they have all been unreliable. Signal strength was poor and/or inconsistent.

    Streaming video and gaming, IMHO, just requires a solid wired connection.
    I know, I know, millions get by with wireless for these things and it works fine for them...just not me.

    I managed to run cat5 to where I need it and have been a very happy camper ever since.

    So, as long as you have a Saturday afternoon, some Cat5, and a fish tape, you are all set...LOL.
  3. mikemalphurs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2010
    Hah! Yeah, that would be tough... My issue is that the house was built in 1923. So, there are firebreaks horizontally placed all up and down the wall. I guess I could go through the crawlspace and put a cat 5 through the floor. Ugh...
  4. From A Buick 8 macrumors 68040

    From A Buick 8

    Sep 16, 2010
    Ky Close to CinCinnati
    +1 For the cat5. I have an older house, but i am lucky in that it has a basement, so i was able to run wire to both my ATV's.
  5. Ralphalph macrumors member


    Mar 7, 2009
    Try this

    Have you tried turning off the radio on the ISP router and switching to the 2.4Ghz broadcast on your time capsule? The time capsule might give you a better broadcast radius, and the 2.4Ghz channel is better at distance/penetration from my understanding. Also, the only wireless item you listed that supports 5Ghz is the apple TV (newer time capsule supports both simultaneously FYI).

    You could also try to set up the time capsule to work as an extender instead of network creator off the ISP router at the edge of the good signal area, although I am not sure if it will work in this manner with a non-apple product.

    The way the signal drops off there is pretty odd, also, although perhaps it's due to the construction of the home as you suggest. Some other things to check: make sure that you don't have any items that could cause interference (microwave, cordless phone) in between the router and the clients; make sure there router is away from large pieces of metal (e.g. metal desk or filing cabinet) and as high up as possible.
  6. mikemalphurs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2010
    Yeah, there are some appliances that could be causing interference... Like, for example, the whole kitchen ;-)

    But, before running a cat5 or putting money into a Powerline Ethernet adaptor, using the Time Capsule might be worth a try.

    A few questions:
    - Would I just put the Time Capsule into the "extend a wireless network" mode?
    - From my diagram below, any suggestions on where to place the time capsule?

  7. mikemalphurs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2010
    Putting it all together...

    Okay... So, I have ended up going with the following products:
    - 2Wire Uverse Gateway (#3800HGV-B)
    - Western Digital WD Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit
    - Time Capsule

    Here is how I have it set-up:
    - The 2Wire Gateway is sending out a b/g wireless signal.
    - The TimeCapsule is connected via ethernet to the gateway and is on the same network.
    - The Western Digital Powerline Kit is connected to the Gateway and is relayed to another adaptor in my media room.
    - I have an Apple TV, PS3, and X-Box connected to the WD Powerline via ethernet.

    Does this sound like the correct set-up? Also, should I plug a router into the last ethernet port in the media room in order to get a stronger signal?

    Again, any advice or help is appreciate!
  8. tommylotto macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2004
    I have used Netgear's Powerline HD with mixed results. It depends on how your house is wired. If the two outlets are on the same circuit or same side of the circuit breaker, or whatever, you will get a great connection and high speed. Otherwise, the connection will be worse than wireless.

    I ended up getting in my attic and running cat5+ to the two key locations on opposite sides of my house and I have two Airport Extremes creating a single network from opposite sides of the house. This creates great coverage in the house and even in the back yard. My main appleTV is wired but I have two more connected wirelesssly with very good results (most of the time).
  9. Shanewilliams macrumors 6502a

    Apr 3, 2010
    NO! You do not want to do this! My house was built in 1929 and drilling through the original hardwood floors was not an option I was willing to try. One thing you can do if you are wanting to go the cat 5 route(personally Id go with cat 6, as its not that big of a price difference anymore per 1000ft) Home Depot carries a 60in and a 72in drill bit specifically for a situation like this. Get the 3/8 bit and you shouldnt have any issues with this at all! The bit comes as a kit with the bit and handle. Its usually in the electrical section. Best of luck to you!
  10. mikemalphurs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2010
    Fantastic... Thanks for all the advice!

    I definitely don't want to drill through the floor, so I will probably try going through the attic with the drill bits that were suggested.

    Also, as suggested, I am getting mixed results with thw ethernet adaptor, as they are not on the same circuit. I will call Western Digital tomorrow to see if there is anything I can try before returning them and going the "manual route" by running the cabling.

    Regardless, my wife is expecting a baby any minute now, and am hoping to get things wrapped up sooner than later! Nothing is easy, though...

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